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‘Van’ heads to the big screen

How many Van der Merwes does it take to stop a wedding? Maybe just the one. That is, if he can get it right just this one time.

Strap in and hold on tight to your stereotypes, because the butt of South Africa’s favourite jokes is coming to the big screen.

Van Der Merwe, a quirky new comedy about the underdog, will be released in cinemas nationwide on Friday 28 July.

Complete with his misconceptions, biases and characteristic inability to succeed, Van der Merwe is sure to make you laugh, cry and above all, cringe, as he attempts to right a grievous wrong, or make a fool of himself trying. With a loving wife, a gorgeous daughter, a feisty father, and a soon-to-be British son-in-law, you will be left believing in sheer luck, good or bad.

“I wanted to make a film about a single character, like Ace Ventura or Zoolander, but with a South African flavour. ‘Van’ is part of our culture, a character to whom we can all relate,” says director and screenwriter, Bruce Lawley, about his debut feature film.

Producers Craig Jones, Bruce Macdonald, Murray Macdonald and Bruce Lawley bring you an all new tongue-in-cheek, family comedy affair, starring Rob van Vuuren (Van) and Reine Swart (Marike).

Van played by Rob van Vuuren in all his glory.

Set on a farm in South Africa, Van der Merwe centres around Van’s daughter, Marike, who returns home from a gap year in Eng-land with her new fiancé, George, a British medical student. This sets the scene for all sorts of problems and challenges.

Not only does Van have to come to terms with the fact that his daughter is marrying an Englishman, but he is also pressured by his bossy, staunchly traditional father to put an end to the relationship.

This puts him in a precarious situation with a difficult choice: risk the wrath of his father by condoning the wedding, or obey his father, whose approval he so desperately wants, and risk losing his daughter forever. When the family of the English fiancé arrives on the farm, the fireworks really begin as the clash of cultures results in a number of side-splitting incidents and hilarious situations.

“We’ve all heard the jokes, but who is the man behind the myth? That is what the story is about. On a deeper level, the film is about overcoming differences, being true to oneself and about never giving up, no matter what the odds might be,” says Lawley.

Other actors that can be seen in the movie include Adrienne Pearce, André Jacobs, Rika Sennett, Erica Wessels, Louw Venter, Benedikt Sebastian, Matthew Baldwin, Neels van Jaarsveld and Melt Sieberhagen. Kurt Darren also makes a cameo appearance as a wedding singer, and Barry Hilton plays Freddie, the barman and Van’s best friend.

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